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Distribution Shapes

Distribution Shapes

When one is describing data, it is important to be able to recognize the shapes of the distribution values. In later chapters, you will see that the shape of a distribution also determines the appropriate statistical methods used to analyze the data.
A distribution can have many shapes, and one method of analyzing a distribution is to draw a histogram or frequency polygon for the distribution. Several of the most common shapes are shown in Figure 2–8: the bell-shaped or mound-shaped, the uniform shaped, the J-shaped, the reverse J-shaped, the positively or right-skewed shape, the negatively or left-skewed shape, the bimodal-shaped, and the U-shaped.
Distributions are most often not perfectly shaped, so it is not necessary to have an exact shape but rather to identify an overall pattern.
A bell-shaped distribution shown in Figure 2–8(a) has a single peak and tapers off at either end. It is approximately symmetric; i.e., it is roughly the same on both sides of a line running through the center.

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